Dead Suspect in Synagogue Hostage Case in Texas Identified as 44-Year-Old Malik Faisal Akram, Two Others Arrested in UK

On Sunday, the FBI identified the gunman who took a Texas Rabbi and three members of his congregation hostage on Saturday, just outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, ​in Colleyville, Texas.  

The armed man was identified as British national Malik Faisal Akram, 44, according to Matthew DeSarno, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Dallas field office, as the person who took hostages that resulted in an hours-long standoff at the Texas synagogue.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker was leading Shabbat services at the Congregation Beth Israel in metro suburb Colleyville, Texas, on Saturday when Akram interrupted the service and allegedly claimed he had planted bombs in the synagogue,law enforcement officials said. He was armed and proceeded to take Rabbi Cytron-Walker and three others hostage.

Authorities said Akram died when an FBI hostage rescue team breached the synagogue Saturday night but did not offer further details. The initial indication is that Akram was shot and killed by the hostage rescue team after it made what the FBI called the “deliberate decision” to breach the synagogue and put an end to the standoff, law enforcement told ABC News. After-action forensics will determine with certainty who fired the fatal shot and under what circumstances.

Two teenagers were also arrested in Britain in connection to the hostage situation, the Greater Manchester Police said on a Twitter post. They were arrested Sunday evening and remained in custody for questioning according to police.

A spokesman for the Britain’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said the agency was aware of “the death of a British man in Texas” but did not say whether he was referring to the suspect.

The ordeal unfolded in the Colleyville synagogue, as members of Cytron-Walker’s flock watched in horror as a Facebook Live broadcast of the service suddenly turned into a nearly 10-hour life-threatening standoff, where Akram kept demanding the release of Afia Siddiqui, according to three senior law enforcement officials briefed on the situation.

Siddiqui, 49, was convicted by a federal jury in 2010 of attempting to kill U.S. officers in Afghanistan and is currently being held at FMC Carswell, a federal prison in Fort Worth.  Siddiqui is suspected of having ties to al-Qaida.

None of the four hostages were injured. Rabbi Cytron-Walker said in a statement on Sunday that the assailant was “increasingly belligerent and threatening” in the standoff’s last hour. “I am grateful to law enforcement for their efforts and to many others for their prayers.”

He also wrote in a Facebook post Sunday saying, “I am thankful and filled with appreciation for all of the vigils and prayers and love and support, all of the law enforcement and first responders who cared for us, all of the security training that helped save us. I am grateful for family. I am grateful for the CBI Community, the Jewish Community, the Human Community. I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive.”

President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday he was briefed on the incident by Attorney General Merrick Garland. “This was an act of terror,” Biden told reporters.

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